Windies star Chris Gayle has sought to distance himself from rumours linking him with being a supporter of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) party in Guyana.

The 40-year-old Jamaican was recently in the country for the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) fixture between the Tallawahs and unbeaten Guyana Amazon Warriors.  The player had, however, also hosted his 40th birthday party ’40 Shades of Gayle’ at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

The left-handed opener was, however, also pictured with representatives of the PNCR on a tour of Mining Town.  The photos prompted widescale speculation regarding the cricketer’s affiliation with the party.  The batsman was quick to insist that he was invited for a community outreach initiative and that he remained unattached to any political party.

“I, Christopher Gayle, would like to make it very clear that I in no way, manner or form endorse or support any individual or political party in Guyana. I have noted the many Social Media comments in relation to my recent presence in Linden and I wish to set the record,” Gayle posted via social media platform Instagram.

 “I was invited to Linden to participate in community outreach. As a sports personality, I relish the opportunity to meet with my fans and also to reach out to any community under the neutral banner of sports. I am apolitical of any political commitment and strongly condemn attempts to tarnish my brand and personality.”

 

Former West Indies coach Roger Harper has been named as a member of a new four-man panel of selectors expected to begin duties next month.

According to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, the 56-year-old former spinner will be joined by former Windwards batsmen Mile Bascome and Lockhart Sebastien alongside Barbadian Hendy Wallace.  Sebastien will serve a second consecutive stint, having been part of a four-man body that served under the leadership of Courtney Browne.  Browne’s panel was sacked soon after a change of administration, which saw Ricky Skerritt replace Dave Cameron as CWI boss.

Sebastien, however, reapplied for the post and was chosen as part of the new panel.  The first job for the newly appointed panel will be to choose a team for the Caribbean team’s tour of India, which will be a tri-series that also includes Afghanistan.

 Harper managed the West Indies team between 2000 and 2003 and later became the manager of the West Indies Youth team in 2005.

 

Former West Indies opener Desmond Haynes and Phil Simmons as well as current coach Floyd Reifer have been short-listed for the job as head coach of the West Indies Senior Cricket team.

 Former West Indies fast bowler Winston Benjamin believes young paceman Alazarri Joseph has been hampered by being drafted into the regional team as an undercooked product.

Joseph was called into the Windies squad three years ago as a talented 19-year-old and has for far played 9 Test matches and claimed 25 wickets.  In one day international’s (ODI) the bowler has made 16 appearances and claimed 24 wickets.  During the period, the player has struggled with both injuries and inconsistency.  Benjamin does not believe the shortcomings are a surprise.

“Let us face facts; when Alzarri got into the West Indies team we were in dire need of fast bowlers and he basically got in on his potential. I worked with him from since he was 15 years old and I said I would like to have another two years with him and then by that time, you would have seen the difference,” Benjamin told Antigua radio show Good Morning Jojo Sports Show.

“He’s here and he’s there, [and] our work was not completed, so he learns from the top [when] everybody else learns from the bottom up. Rabada and all those guys, their thing is structured where you have coaches for every meal of the day and every direction you turn,” he added.

The former fast bowler has admitted to being impressed with the progress the young bowler has made in recent months and believes he could be on the way to fulfilling his potential.

 

Veteran Windies batsman Chris Gayle has voiced his annoyance regarding constant speculation surrounding his future, particularly as it relates to expected retirement plans.

Gayle, who turns 40 tomorrow, announced that he planned to retire from the sport following the ICC World Cup a few months ago.  The player, however, seemed to have a change of heart later, insisting that he could play longer.  Following his appearance at the World Cup, Gayle participated in the Windies One Day International series against India.

 At the end of that series, it appeared several players and members of the media thought Gayle’s international career was at an end as he received a standing ovation.  The Windies talisman was, however, quick to announce that he had said nothing about retirement.  With the question continuing to linger, Gayle has made it clear he has grown weary of the speculation.

“The older you get is the wiser you get and it’s the more you feel a different sort of energy,” Gayle said in an interview posted by Jamaica Tallawahs.

"You get older you might feel a bit jaded here and there.  I’m turning 40 soon and I’m feeling pretty good.  I am going to rest aside this discussion about retirement,” Gayle added.

“It’s something I learned a couple of months ago.  When you make an actual statement about retiring while you are still playing it can be a bit complicated and it can get irritating and annoying.  I get annoyed when people say this and that so from now on, I won’t be answering anyone’s questions about retirement.”

 

 

Jamaica Tallawahs top-order batsman and stand-in captain Chadwick Walton insists the team had no choice but to battle for a win, after getting their first of the season against Barbados Tridents at Sabina Park on Sunday.

Walton took on the mantle of leadership to help the team secure a four-wicket win, the team’s first in five attempts.

“We found ourselves with our back against the wall, so we had to find a way to come up trumps and fortunately we did,” Walton said after the match.

Having conceded and eyewatering 875 runs in four prior game, the Tallawahs made changes to their bowling attack and opted to go with spinners at the top of the order.  The ploy worked as extra bounce and turn from George Worker quickly removed openers Johnson Charles and Alex Hales. 

From there the variation never allowed the Tridents to settle as they were eventually left short at 140 for 9.  What should have been an easy runs chase, however, looked any but despite solid starts from the opening duo of Glen Phillips and Chris Gayle.  Walton, who scored a match-winning 51 from 42, stuck around to deliver the win.

“It was a lot of pressure, but I knew that if we batted the full 20 overs, we would win the game.  The aim was just to bat the 20 overs,” he added.

“It’s nice to get your campaign off and running, it’s a bit late but we will take it nonetheless and hope that we can move strength to strength from here.”

Jamaica Tallawahs recorded their first 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) victory, at the fifth attempt, after restricting Barbados Tridents to 140 for 9 and surviving a mid-innings wobble to get home with four wickets in hand thanks to Chadwick Walton’s unbeaten 51.

In conditions very different to those that saw almost 500 runs in the record-breaker last time out at Sabina Park, a pitch offering turn and, most importantly, bounce kept batsmen honest and spinners interested throughout.

Tridents openers Alex Hales and Johnson Charles both fell in identical fashion, failing to get over the extra bounce George Worker was able to extract and slicing catches to point.

And bounce continued to trouble the Tridents.  Leniko Boucher had looked decent for 15 before chipping a return catch to Ramaal Lewis, while Jason Holder got a beauty first up from Zahir Khan that found the shoulder of the bat to give Gayle a straightforward catch at slip.

JP Duminy was trying to hold things together but when Jonathan Carter holed out to long-off to hand Lewis a second wicket, the Tridents were 70 for 5 and running out of time and men.

Enter Ashley Nurse, who shifted the momentum in fine style. He plundered 14 in three balls from Christopher Lamont and two more Hero Maximums off Zahir Khan, accounting for over half of the total runs he conceded in his four overs and made 37 from 17 balls in a 49-run partnership with Duminy.

They fell in successive deliveries, though, to plunge the Tridents right back into trouble. Duminy slapped Derval Green straight to Lewis at deep cover before Nurse was completely deceived by a slower ball to give former England international Jade Dernbach his first Hero CPL wicket, Gayle holding on to the skied chance.

Zahir Khan struck twice in his final over with two more googlies, the first trapping Hayden Walsh Jr. plumb lbw and the second even better to beat the edge of the overbalancing Roshon Primus before Phillips whipped the bails off for a smart stumping.

That left Sandeep Lamichhane and Josh Lalor to scramble the final total up to something approaching respectability in the final 12 balls.

Gayle and Phillips got the Tallawahs chase off to a quick start, both men finding and clearing the boundary on a regular basis to put 48 on the board in the first five overs. Both fell to Tridents skipper Holder, though, caught in the deep looking to exploit the final over of Power Play fielding restrictions.

Walsh Jr. then removed Worker and Dwayne Smith lbw in successive balls to give Tridents real hope at 68 for 4 with 73 still needed.

That hope was fleeting. Javelle Glen hit Lamichhane for two Hero Maximums in the next over, Walton added another in the next and the momentum was firmly back with the Tallawahs.

They added 45 together in just four overs before Glen holed out to Hales to give Lamichhane something to show for a difficult day.

Lewis fell cheaply but the Tallawahs were always in control of things while Walton was at the crease. He finished the match with a six to reach his half-century, which got the Tallawahs home with nine balls to spare and their season up and running at last.

 

Defending Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) champions Trinbago Knight Riders made it three wins from three in their season-opening home stint after cruising past St Lucia Zouks’ 167 for 5 with seven wickets and 13 balls to spare.

Very different yet equally impressive half-centuries from the explosive Lendl Simmons and ice-cool Denesh Ramdin ensured a mid-range target never really posed much of a threat. Simmons set the tone with a six straight back over Thisara Perera’s head from just the second ball of the innings, with Sunil Narine adding another Hero Maximum as 14 came from the opening over.

With the boundaries coming so regularly, even the loss of Narine and Tion Webster in the space of nine balls, the latter caught at point from Fawad Ahmed’s first ball of the day, did nothing to stem the flow.

Ramdin had been understandably content to play second fiddle to Simmons for the most part but he cut loose once the partnership reached 50, taking Fawad Ahmed for 10 in two balls as 17 runs came from the 11th over of the innings.

Simmons continued the boundary spree with his fifth Hero Maximum, powered down the ground off Kavem Hodge, but the bowler had instant revenge as Simmons ran past a wide to be comprehensively stumped by Andre Fletcher.

The target was by now down to 62 from 52, though, and with Kieron Pollard striding to the middle to join Ramdin there was little reason for optimism from the Zouks.

All that remained to be determined was whether Ramdin could complete his 50 before Pollard finished the game, and back-to-back fours through midwicket and point took him to 47 and the victory target down to seven at the start of the 18th over.

He duly got to the landmark with a clip for two that brought the scores level, and the Zouks’ day to forget ended with a wide outside off to hand TKR the winning run.

The Zouks innings, just as in their opening match against Guyana Amazon Warriors, was given a stunning start by Rahkeem Cornwall. He followed up a 14-ball 36 in that game with 33 from 12.

His departure, trapped plumb in front on the sweep by Narine, brought an inevitable slowing of the rate.

Fletcher struggled to cut loose in a frustrating 32-ball stay that brought him 26 runs while Najibullah Zadran’s promising cameo was ended at 26 from 17 balls when he picked out Javon Searles on the long-off boundary from a Mohammad Hasnain slower ball.

Daren Sammy smashed back-to-back sixes in his 16 from 13, while John Campbell did start to find the boundary towards the back end of the innings but once again it felt like the Zouks had failed to take full advantage of the early momentum the innings had been given by their big opener.

 

 

Trinbago Knight Riders captain expressed delight with the contribution of multiple players as the team maintained a perfect start to the new CPL season with a 7-wickets win over St Lucia Zouks on Sunday.

The win added to victories over the Jamaica Tallawahs and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, marked a third in a row for TKR who bowled off the season at the Queens Park Oval.  Powered by 50s from Denesh Ramdin (50) and Lendl Simmons (63), TKR comfortably hunted down St Lucia’s first innings total of 167 for 5.  Simmons hits five boundaries and five sixes for his total, while Ramdin reached the boundary five times only once clearing the ropes.

Against the Tallawahs the team had outstanding contributions from Sunil Narine and Tion Webster.  Jimmy Neesham and Pollard himself were the ones to deliver for the home team in the opening match.  Pollard, who took over captain duties from Dwayne Bravo at the start of the tournament believes the varied contributions so far is a good sign for the defending champions.

“That’s what cricket is about, it’s a team sport.  We know in T20 cricket in each and every game the same person is going to do it.  We spoke about it in the dressing room and every game can be someone else.  Last game was Tion Webster the youngster and Lendl has been searching for runs,” Pollard said following the match.

The TKR captain also expressed satisfaction with the team’s position in the early standings.

“I think it was crucial for us…playing three games in six days and the intensity of T20 cricket and playing at 12.  I thought the heat the better of us at the start and we were flat but we spoke about it and just asked for one big push.”

Windies batsman Kieron Pollard is poised to become the new captain of the regional team in both the T20 and ODI formats, numerous reports have claimed.

The 32-year-old Pollard, long thought of as a viable alternative for the post, is set to replace Jason Holder as head of the ODI team and Carlos Brathwaite as skipper of the T20 squad.  Holder was appointed the head of the regional team in 2014, with Brathwaite appointed as leader in the shorter format in 2016 after an outstanding performance at the World Cup.

 Neither captain has performed particularly well, however, with Holder losing 24 of 54 matches played and Brathwaite managing just a 33 percent win ratio.

Pollard has, however, not been a regular participant for the Windies squad in recent years, particularly in the ODI format where he last appeared for the team in 2016.  The player had, however, been named as a reserve for the 2019 World Cup but failed to make an appearance, as the regional team managed just one win and an eighth-place finish. 

Pollard made his T20 debut on June 2008 against Australia but was overlooked for several years after disputes with the regional board. He was, however, re­called to the West Indies team for the T20 internationals against Indian last month.

 

West Indies batsman Kraigg Brathwaite has been reported for a suspect bowling action during the second Test against India.

Occasional off-spinner Brathwaite only delivered two overs in a 257-run loss to India in Kingston that finished on Monday, picking up figures of 1-8.

The 26-year-old was previously reported in August 2017 but was cleared following an assessment.

Brathwaite is required to submit for further testing by September 14 and can continue bowling in Tests until the results are known.

Trinbago Knight Riders captain Kieron Pollard hailed the impact of mystery spinner Sunil Narine, who fired up the team with a fast and furious start at the top of the order in a 22-runs win over rivals Jamaica Tallawahs on Friday.

Narine, who is better known for his exploits with the ball, was just as dangerous with the bat this time around, cracking 46 from just 22.  The knock, which included 3 sixes and four 4s got the hosts off to a strong start en route to a sizeable 191 for 4. 

Narine was given excellent support at the other end by Tian Webster who batted straight through the innings with 66 from 49 balls.  The two put on a damaging 74 runs on the board for the second wicket, helping to offset the early loss of Lendl Simmons who was sent packing for 11 runs.  In response, man-of-the-match Narine claimed 2 for 23 as the Tallawahs eventually crumbled at 169 for 6.

Pollard, who added 33 from 21 for TKR, believes the contribution of the pair was crucial to the team’s success.

“I thought the guys played well, we asked for a start and yes we lost the early wicket but it shows the confidence of Sunil Narine, he walked in and just changed the momentum immediately and that first 6 overs is where we stamped our authority,” Pollard said following the match.

For the most part, the defending champions TKR kept the explosive Tallawahs from really going after the steep target, with the timely dismissals of Chris Gayle (28), Glenn Phillips (6) and Ravmon Powell (1).  Andre Russell scored a brisk 44 from 24 but was in the end left with too much to do.

“We sat and we tried to analyse the Tallawahs line-up.  We had specific plans for certain batsmen and I just asked the guys to back themselves and execute…again it wouldn’t have been possible without Narine but also the way young Webster batted.”

 

Sacked interim West Indies coach Richard Pybus believes the regional team was on the verge of something special before his abrupt dismissal at the hands of the new Cricket West Indies (CWI) administration a few months ago.

Pybus, who was previously held the role of director of cricket, was controversially appointed to the post by former CWI boss Dave Cameron, in December of last year.  Despite the ferocious debate, however, Pybus got off to a flying start after overseeing the team to a 2-1 win in a three-Test series against England.  The Windies also held England to a 2-2 draw the preceding three-match One-Day International.

Following the defeat of Cameron in the CWI elections by the Ricky Skerritt led team, however, Pybus was replaced with interim coach Floyd Reifer.  The move was particularly controversial with the World Cup only a few weeks away and captain Jason Holder later requesting that the change be made after the tournament.  

“Of all the sides I have coached around the world, this group was fantastic. We had a very good understanding as a collective group,” Pybus told the Jamaica Gleaner.

“The attitude was right, and we had mutual respect and belief as to what we wanted to achieve as a whole, and this team was ready to start winning,” he added.

“We had some really good guys in our back-room staff, guys such as Vasbert Drakes, Mushtaq Ahmed, Toby Radford, and Esuan Crandon. All these guys did an excellent job. The players responded to them well as most of them are well known around the region.”

“I have had persons tell me that they loved the way the team played in that England series with passion and aggression,” Pybus said.

 “That is the philosophy that we wanted across the board, and yes, I am disappointed that I was not able to carry on, but that is the nature of a democratic process, and these things do happen.”

 

Windies skipper Jason Holder admits there is no easy solution to the batting afflictions currently suffered by the regional team, following yet another disappointing display against India in the second and final Test.

The regional team found themselves on the wrong end of a 257 runs defeat at the hands of India, on Monday, which followed a 318 loss in the first Test last week.  The result meant the Windies failed to win a match against India for the entire tour.

Both Test matches featured a substandard batting display from the hosts, who for example struggled to get 100 in the second innings of the first Test and 117 in the first innings of the second match.  India pace bowler Jaspit Bumrah proved to be particularly effective after taking 13 wickets in two Tests at an average of 9.23. 

"I’m obviously disappointed, we didn't play a complete game of cricket in any of the games. We need to put up the scores and fight out those tough periods.  It’s a tough question on how to fix the batting. It’s an individual thing,” Holder said.

“We need to take ownership of our performances,” he added.

The captain was quit to admit that he did not believe the team had a lot of choices as it relates to outside batting talent with which to improve the squad.

"The situation we are in the Caribbean...we are not really spoiled for choices in terms of batsmen coming through,” Holder said.

"We've got to put things in place and to make sure we keep developing players and make sure players are doing the right things to be successful.”

 

 

Virat Kohli insisted his whole team deserved credit after a second pummelling of West Indies ensured he became India's most successful Test captain.

Kohli's 28th win as skipper, which took him past the previous record tally of MS Dhoni, was just like the 27th, an emphatic thrashing of an overmatched Windies outfit.

India completed a 257-run victory on the fourth day of the second Test in Kingston.

Asked about his success as captain in the post-match presentation, Kohli said: "It's a by-product of the quality team that we have here, to be honest. I think all the credit has to go to the whole team.

"Captaincy is just a 'c' in front of your name, honestly. It's the collective effort that matters.

"It took a lot of character from the boys. It was a game full of grit and determination and [we're] really happy to get the result."

India - the world's number-one ranked side - now sit top of the World Test Championship table, their 2-0 series win in the Caribbean earning a maximum 120-point haul.

"For us it's just the start of the championship," said Kohli.

"What's happened in the past is irrelevant and we just want to look forward and keep continuing to play good cricket."

India's star batsman also lavished praise on Hanuma Vihari, who scored his maiden Test century in the first innings as India piled up 416.

"I think it was a top-class innings," said Kohli. "He's a guy who's very sure of his game and it shows when he plays.

"It's a very young career [so far] but he's shown why he has been backed and selected in this team."

No Windies player came close to matching Vihari's feats. Shamarh Brooks' second-innings fifty was the only score of note for a team bowled out for 117 and 210.

The Windies fared similarly in the first Test, making 222 and 100, leading skipper Jason Holder to state: "We just need to be able to put some scores on the board. We haven't been able to get the answers as yet."

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